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Bahrain welcomes Islamic finance experts for WIFFMC 2012

Published: 25/05/2012 12:45:00 AM GMT
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Manama: The 8th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2012) is set to be kicked off on May 20 at the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The conference is being held under the theme “New Growth Horizons: Expanding the Global Footprint of Islamic Funds and Investments.”

By Farhan Iqbal


Manama: The 8th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference (WIFFMC 2012) is set to be kicked off on May 20 at the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The conference is being held under the theme “New Growth Horizons: Expanding the Global Footprint of Islamic Funds and Investments.”The conference will go on for two days (May 20-21) and welcome the leading players and key regulators in the international Islamic funds and investments industry for discussions primarily to seek capitalization on the new opportunities and chalk out the future direction of the global Shariah-compliant funds and investments industry.The Islamic finance industry is one of the fastest growing components of the global financial system with an estimated growth rate of 15-20 percent. There is an increasing demand for Islamic financial products and services in international markets besides traditional markets of South East Asia and the Middle East.Due to the growing global demand for Shariah-compliant financial products and services, the Islamic funds and investments industry has seen steady growth over the past decade and eventually there is a significant increase in the number of institutions structuring Islamic investment products.According to Ernst & Young, the Islamic funds industry has achieved a growth of 7.6 percent in 2010 by reaching to $58 billion.The high profile CEO and Industry Leaders' Power Debate will be a key highlight of WIFFMC 2012. The session moderated by Rushdi Siddiqui, Global Head Islamic Finance & OIC Countries, Thomson Reuters and featuring Datuk Noripah Kamso, Chief Executive, CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd; Fernand Grulms, Chief Executive Officer, Luxembourg for Finance; Ken Owens, Chairman, Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA); and Dr. Salah Addeen A Qadar Saeed, General Manager - Credit & Risk Management, Bahrain Islamic Bank, will share critical insights on aligning business strategies with new economic realities and profitably expanding the global footprint of Islamic investments.The Central Bank of Bahrain is the platinum sponsor of the event and its Executive Director - Financial Institutions Supervision, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker, will officially inaugurate the conference with his keynote address.While speaking before the conference, Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al Baker said, "As with other forms of Islamic finance, the Islamic funds industry has grown to become an increasingly substantial segment within the global financial markets and has gained significant interest as a viable and efficient alternative model of financial intermediation. Growing awareness and increasing demand for investing in accordance with Shariah principles on a global scale have been the catalyst towards making the Islamic financial services industry a flourishing industry. This is also a reflection of the increasing wealth and capacity of investors, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to seek and invest in new investment products that serve their needs.""With Islamic finance having considerable capacity to meet large investment requirements, opportunities therein lie in the more effective and efficient channeling of the sizeable surplus funds towards the vast productive investment opportunities within and across various key markets for Islamic finance," he added.Chief Executive of the World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference, David McLean, also shared similar kind of views, "With an addressable universe in excess of $500 billion for Islamic fund managers, which is still growing by at least 10-15 percent annually, it is essential that the industry players seize this opportunity and innovate new Islamic instruments and encourage more spending in research and development, in order to widen the contribution of Islamic investments in the global financial market."He also added, "With Sukuk emerging as a new asset class for global investors, it is essential to see that the demands of sophisticated investors are met in order to maintain the current growth levels that the Islamic funds industry has achieved. This calls for coordinated efforts in order to further improve the market for both issuers and investors."Chairman of the Irish Funds Industry Association (IFIA), Ken Owens, stated, "As the Chairman of the Irish Fund Industry I am honored to be asked to speak at the 8th Annual World Islamic Funds and Financial Markets Conference and we very much look forward to our participation at this very prestigious event. As an international fund jurisdiction we very much look forward to our participation amongst this impressive gathering of senior industry representatives to discuss the different industry issues and how we in Ireland can assist the asset management community to respond to the challenges and add to the opportunities for their business in this fast changing world. It is also an excellent showcase for Ireland to demonstrate our capabilities and our determination to be the leading European centre for Islamic Finance."


Ken Owens, Chairman of the Irish Funds Industry Association

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